Laura Simms, a storyteller, is the director of The Gaindeh Project using story with youth in crisis throughout the world. Her new book, love stories for adults, is The Robe of Love (Codhill Press).
I recall the solitary intensity of squatting in my junior high schoolyard at lunch reading it from cover to cover I was stunned by the cruelty of the Holocaust, realizing my parents had not described what had ended only the year I was born—one of many secrets in our house. The personal account of Anne Frank, almost the same age as I was, allowed me to enter the world of fear, passions, and European Jewishness. I began keeping journals as a result, finding a means of expression that may have nurtured my becoming a writer. Unrequited love became one of my themes; going off to wars and dying another. I hid the book and my journal in my closet. I think it freed me as much as it horrified me at that time.